Slideshow: Empty Bowls Get Filled at Foodbank Fundraiser


A line snaked through a pair of tables to select their bowls, before stepping up to the soup serving area.
  • Andrew Crisp
  • A line snakes through a pair of tables where people selected their bowls Nov. 23 at the Idaho Foodbank fundraiser Empty Bowls.

As the sun began to peek into the Grove Plaza Nov. 23, the Idaho Foodbank prepared to dish out thousands of servings of soup for its annual fundraiser, Empty Bowls.

Every year, Empty Bowls welcomes visitors to purchase a locally crafted bowl, then partake of soup and bread donated by area businesses.

Friday morning before 11 a.m., a group of volunteers donned aprons and heated large pots, each filled with a different soup, bisque or chowder, and the line began to stretch past the Boise Centre.

"I think we had about 1,800 [people] last year, and we think we're on track to exceed that," said Jenifer Johnson, vice president of development at the Idaho Foodbank. "This is becoming one of the events that's popular for the food bank. We had some folks in line who said this was their 15th year doing it."

Those in line were swaddled in mittens, knit caps and hefty jackets. But Johnson said the cold didn't keep visitors away from the event.

Soup flavors included curry lentil, vegan chili, corn chowder and cream of broccoli. Not long after the line began moving at 11 a.m., a sweet, creamy butternut squash soup became a popular choice.

Johnson said part of the intent of Empty Bowls is to remind visitors of the soup line, and to bring together local groups for a common cause.

"We have about 40 volunteers helping with staging, and then you think about the hundreds of volunteers who helped make bowls," said Johnson. "The restaurants donated all the soup, Albertsons donated the bread. ... It's really the whole community coming together. I think that's what makes people look forward to this event."

Click here for a slideshow of the event.